Sources to Bloomberg say that Chinese manufacturer ZTE has lost $3.1 billion in the month since the US Commerce Department denied it from importing products from American companies. The company had said that it stopped most day-to-day operations as a consequence of the seven-year ban.
President Donald Trump has been keen on getting the department to revise its order to be less punishing — while Trump has denied reaching a deal, reports say one is close and may involve heavier fines than the $800 million ZTE originally paid as part of a settlement on breaking US sanctions by doing business in Iran and North Korea. Relief for the company has been a bargaining chip with larger tariff negotiations between Washington and Beijing.
Lawmakers and the intelligence community are baffled at the Trump administration’s concessions as they are more concerned with the company’s infringement of intellectual property, easy cooperation with the censorship-happy and authoritative Chinese government and criminal infractions such as the sanctions breach.
The House Appropriations Committee recently agreed to prevent the Commerce Department from using its budget to change its disciplinary actions toward ZTE — Bloomberg reports a bill should be sent to the House at-large by August for a full vote. It’s also possible that the Defense Department’s budget will also include language forcing President Trump to certify that ZTE will not jeopardize US security if the Denial Order is to be lifted.
Amendments are also being considered to act against other Chinese telecom and surveillance equipment companies such as Huawei, Hikvision, Hytera and others.